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Alberta reports 138 new COVID-19 cases; single-largest day yet for new infections
EDMONTON -- Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 138 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday — Alberta's highest day-to-day increase during the pandemic so far.
The province now has a total of 1,870 cases of the novel coronavirus and 914 recoveries.
All but 10 of Tuesday's cases were confirmed in the Calgary Zone.
The chief medical officer of health also confirmed two more deaths, both at continuing care facilities, as a result of the virus, bringing the toll to 48. One death was at Calgary's McKenzie Towne Long Term Care Home, bringing its total to 21, and the other at Edmonton's Shepherd's Care Kensington.
There have been a total of 214 cases and 30 deaths at Alberta continuing care facilities.
Hinshaw, who has gradually introduced measures to protect seniors from the virus, said residents who come into contact with staff are continuously screened, and staff who work closely with residents must now wear protective equipment during their shift.
Alberta Health Services conducted 2,868 tests in the last 24 hours.
"While we're seeing a steady rise in recovered cases in the province, we should also expect to see a rise of cases in the upcoming days as a result of expanded testing," Hinshaw said.
'COVID-19 IS AN UNPRECENDENTED PANDEMIC'
Modeling data the province presented last week estimates the COVID-19 peak will come in mid-May, but it's unclear how long the pandemic and rules such as physical distancing will affect Albertans.
Hinshaw says she understands and shares the frustration many Albertans feel due to this uncertainty.
"COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic and it has impacted all of us," Alberta's top doctor said. "We are all mourning the normalcy we once knew.
"Believe me when I say I wish it were within my power to give everyone back the life they had three months ago."
She recommends postponing large events such as weddings, or at least planning for smaller gatherings instead, in case bans remain in place in the foreseeable future.
"It's important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic we'll all be dealing with for some while," Hinshaw said, but added: "This will not last forever."
NEW FUNDING FOR CAREGIVERS
The provincial government is giving $3 million to Caregivers Alberta, a non-profit that assists those who care for others at home or in the community.
With the funds, Caregivers Alberta plans to develop a public awareness campaign, expand the Caregiver Advisor phone line's hours, expand support programs and develop a coaching program for caregivers.
"Caregivers are essential to the well-being and quality of life of over one million Albertans," said Health Minister Tyler Shandro. "This is particularly true as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic."
“Without family and friend caregivers, our health-care system would simply collapse – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," added Sandra Sereda, Caregivers Alberta's executive director. "This funding will help support the almost one million caregivers across the province with caregiver-focused programs and services.”